Teenage pregnancy is a disturbing menace in Ghana that has continued to upset the social balance of the society. Statistics show that more than 75,000 teenagers between the ages o 15 to 19 got pregnant in 2014.
These figures only account for recorded teenage pregnancies in the Central Region of the country. Although there have been increased awareness and protection programs for teenagers, teenage pregnancy has remained rampant.
Causes of Teenage Pregnancy in Ghana
In this article, we are going to highlight the causes of teenage pregnancy in Ghana.
Most teenage pregnancies that happen in Ghana, especially in the Central Region, are as a result of trades. The males are able to lure girls to bed with money as most of them are from poor backgrounds. These female students go on to sleep with them regardless of the consequences.
The poverty rate has contributed to the rise in teenage pregnancy in the country.
Although Ghana has been able to cut its poverty rate by half in the last two decades, there are a lot of people who remain below the poverty line. These individuals include teenage girls who are the prey of males seeking for a good time.
Reports have also shown that some teenage girls from poor backgrounds go into this act due to greed. Some of these girls are aware of the consequences of this act but still go ahead. However, they make up a less significant percent of teenage pregnancies in Ghana.
Lack of Awareness
The increasing menace of teenage pregnancies in Ghana can be attributed to the lack of awareness. Most of the girls are unaware of the importance of using protection during their encounters. This not only makes it easy for them to get pregnant but also makes them susceptible to diseases.
Sometimes these girls could be aware of the need to use protection during their encounters but they will be cajoled into the act without protection by their male counterparts.
Increasing awareness of the need to use protection might not be enough to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy.
The availability of contraceptives should also be taken into consideration. The prices and availability of contraceptives are important factors that affect the rate of teenage pregnancy in the country.
The Media has played its role in making teenage pregnancy rampant in the country. Shows and programs aired on television have made teenage pregnancy more appealing.
It has also encouraged encounters between males and females making it look like a great experience while hiding the true facts and consequences of such encounters.
Many teenage girls have gotten pregnant in a bid to explore. They are easily influenced by what they read and watch on television. As this trend becomes popular in the media, the rate of teenage pregnancy continues to increase.
Effects of Teenage Pregnancy
Effects of Teenage Pregnancy on Mothers
Teen mothers are more likely to drop out of school. Most of them drop out due to the lack of ambition and interest in getting an education. Others drop out due to financial issues.
These teen mothers are unable to get employed due to the lack of qualifications for proper jobs. Some of them will have to settle for jobs with lower wages while others would go into prostitution or any other form of employment to make ends meets.
Most of them end up not having adequate resources to take care of themselves and their child. They are also susceptible to health problems due to the lack of proper health habits. The transition from being a teenager to becoming a mother is often tough on them.
Some of these girls will get support from their families, however, many will not receive such support and will be forced to survive on their own. These mothers end up smoking and drinking to keep their body and soul together while taking care of their child.
Effects of Teenage Pregnancy on the Children
Most of the children of teen mothers grow up in poverty. Most of them grow up without a fatherly figure which affects their view of life. They are also more likely to develop poor relationships with their mothers and society due to improper upbringing.
These children are more likely to grow up with low self-esteem and lack quality education. Some are not able to get primary or secondary education due to the lack of financial resources.
Solutions to the Causes of Teenage Pregnancy in Ghana
There are several ways the rate of teenage pregnancy can be reduced in Ghana. These solutions below will address the main causes of teenage pregnancy.
Most girls who become mothers at a young age find it hard to cope. This is true especially for those girls from poor backgrounds. The lack of employment has contributed to the increasing teenage pregnancies in the country.
One solution is to create more employment opportunities not only for employable people but also for teenagers. There are various jobs these teenagers could engage in to make ends meet without having to indulge in these encounters.
Education and Awareness
Increased awareness can help reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies in the country. Most teenage girls lack the proper education making them easy to manipulate. Many also lack awareness of the importance of using protection.
Schools, parents, and elders in the community should properly enlighten teenagers including boys and girls about the consequences of these encounters and the importance of using protection.
Shows and programs in the media have not only made things worse by increasing the rate of teenage pregnancy but they have also made it look normal. The media can actually be used to create awareness.
Most of the shows and programs aired on TV which do not promote awareness should be regulated.
Parents would use settings like Parental Control to prevent their children from watching some shows that could encourage them to explore and probably end up becoming pregnant.
These solutions should be able to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy in Ghana, however, it is important that emphasis is placed on the upbringing of teenage girls and the type of content they are exposed to.
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